From the early history of pesticides…

From the post “Sunrise in the Garden of Dreams”, on the “Puff the Mutant Dragon” chemistry blog: 

“Gerhard Schrader had been feeling sick for a while, but he didn’t realize how ill he was until he tried to drive home. There was something wrong with his eyes. He felt like he was going blind; he could hardly see the road, and it was becoming difficult and painful to breathe. It was a struggle for him to get home. When he finally reached the house, he peered into the mirror through his glasses, straining to see his own reflection. He discovered with surprise that the pupils of his eyes had shrunk to tiny pinpoints.

Chemist that he was, Schrader quickly guessed what had happened. Schrader worked at IG Farben, at that time in 1936 the world’s largest chemical company. He’d recently completed the initial synthesis of a new compound — a clear apple-scented liquid. Its sweet scent belied its real nature, however, for while he now knew the chemical’s vapor must be quite toxic, he didn’t yet realize how dangerous it was, or how close he’d come to an agonizing death.

After a couple weeks in the hospital, Schrader returned to the lab just before Christmas, where he resumed work on his new compound — this time being just a little more careful. He soon realized his latest creation was incredibly toxic. Monkeys exposed to low vapor concentrations went into convulsions and died within minutes….”

More on Puff the Mutant Dragon.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “From the early history of pesticides…

  1. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a huge fan of GMOs… Near the bottom of the article, he says: ” To my mind, GMOs and organic farming could very well make an excellent partnership. I know there are a lot of reasons why this looks like a rocky marriage — Monsanto and organic farmers love each other about as much as monks loved Viking raiders. But I think we need to get past this stumbling block somehow, because given further development, GMOs could ultimately prove to be the best thing that ever happened to organic farming.” UGH.

  2. Gary

    Careful! This article is pro GMO, at the end of the blog he writes;

    “To my mind, GMOs and organic farming could very well make an excellent partnership. I know there are a lot of reasons why this looks like a rocky marriage — Monsanto and organic farmers love each other about as much as monks loved Viking raiders. But I think we need to get past this stumbling block somehow, because given further development, GMOs could ultimately prove to be the best thing that ever happened to organic farming.”

    He does not suggest whom should be the human test subjects for these experiments.

  3. Kathy

    Interesting chemistry. Discouraging end to the article–that GMOs are a solution. Surprising that scientists miss the problems that are not in their own specialties. Joel Salatin’s solutions in his book “Folks This Ain’t Normal” are stronger and more positive.

  4. thebovine

    Researchers such as Zecharia Sitchin would have us believe that humans themselves are a product of genetic modification. While there’s ample evidence that much of the GMO products in use today are bad news for health, I think we can afford to keep an open mind as to possible beneficial future uses of such technology. Not that we’ve seen any yet. And not that we’ve seen any evidence that the current promoters of GMOs care about human or animal health either.

    Stichin is author of the Earth Chronicles series of books. http://www.sitchin.com/

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